Warnings: None, although you may crave Chinese food after reading it. I know I do now.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters and I'm not making any money off this. Seriously, people aren't that dumb.
Summary: There is a secret plan, although whether it's Audrey's or Nathan's is really anybody's guess. Nathan's inner caveman is just relieved that the plan involves nudity.
Author's Notes: Again, unbetad because my beta only has internet in work at the moment. Poor girl. :(
“Are you sure this isn’t....weird?” Nathan asked dubiously.
Audrey stared up at him from her position on the couch.
“Compared to women who control the weather with their minds, or kids that have nightmares that come true?” she asked him, a hint of impatience in her tone. “Stop stalling and get over here.”
“I’m not entirely sure that your research is right,” he grumbled, taking off his shoes and stepping towards the couch warily. He gave the old, comfortable piece of furniture a challenging look, as if it was concealing a weapon down the side of its wine-coloured cushions.
“It wasn’t my research, it was Julia’s, based on notes from Eleanor,” Audrey replied, with a hint of steel in her voice. “Two doctors, Nathan. Two doctors who both have concerns about lack of physical contact and the links between that and depression.”
“I’m not depressed!” he said, exasperated.
“You never crack a smile!” she countered.
“I’m stoic,” he argued.
“You’re stalling,” she said flatly. “I know that this must be weird for you, knowing that you can feel me when I touch you when it won’t work with anybody else. And I know that I’m not your first choice of people to do this with, but I’m worried about you, Nathan. So if you won’t do this for you, will you do it for me? As your friend? Please?”
She stared up at him hopefully, with her arms outstretched.
Cursing the fact that he had ever told her that he could feel her touch, Nathan sighed and dropped gracelessly down onto the far end of the couch.
“Fine,” he said shortly. “But I still think this is a stupid idea.”
“Well, I have a lot of those,” Audrey told him. “But the weird thing is, around here my stupid ideas tend to be the right ones. Get on up here, it isn’t going to work with you all the way down there.”
She wriggled backwards into the corner of the couch and opened her legs. She patted the space between them and looked at him expectantly. Rolling his eyes heavenwards, Nathan moved up the couch and sat in the space she indicated. He gingerly leant backwards, letting his head rest on Audrey’s shoulder. Her legs came up to cradle his body, and she wrapped her arms loosely around his middle.
Immediately a flood of sensation crashed over him, confusing his senses. The light pressure from Audrey’s arms contrasted with the strength of her thighs. She may be slender but she was strong. She smelled good, which he knew anyway – some sort of citrus perfume that clung to her hair and jacket. It was fresh and clean, and one that he knew would forever be associated with her in his mind. But there was something about the warmth of her body that just ignited that smell and took it deeper, made it smell sexy and mysterious. Inviting.
“There,” she said calmly from just above him. “That wasn’t so bad now, was it?”
He could feel the slight rumble in her chest as she spoke, and a delicate tickle of air pass over his ears. And God, the warmth of her skin...Nathan closed his eyes. It had been so long since he had felt the heat of another human being that he honestly felt that he never wanted to move again.
“No,” he said eventually, aware that she was still waiting for him to speak. “It seems that the Earth is still on its axis.”
“Right then,” Audrey said determinedly. “Time to work.”
Nathan opened one eye.
“Work?” he asked, confused.
“Well, you didn’t think that I’d invited you around here just for a cuddle session, did you?” she asked, shifting position to pick up a stack of files from the floor. “We’ve been getting a lot of reports of odd noises in residential areas at night, I thought we should go through them to see if anything pops out at us.”
“Of course,” he said quickly. “That makes sense. Here, give them to me.”
He arranged the pile of paperwork across his thighs, grateful for the coverage they provided. He was no trigger-happy seventeen year old, but it had been a very long time since he was up close and this personal with a beautiful woman and there had been some uncomfortable pressure building up in his jeans. The collection of paperwork covered it nicely.
After some light-hearted bickering, they agreed that the easiest way to do things was for them to share a file, with Audrey reading over his shoulder. They managed three files before the fidgeting set in, and ten files before it became unbearable.
Nathan knew Audrey was a fidgeter. She was also a tapper, a doodler and an under-the-breath hummer. She was constantly in motion, even when she was sitting still. Now that she was trapped under the weight of his body, she couldn’t really move and she wasn’t distracted enough to hum. Instead, she took to idly stroking the front of Nathan’s sweater up and down with first one finger, then another. He was positive that she was unaware that she was doing it, so he said nothing. But then her fingers drifted slightly, and she began running her fingers over his nipples.
He had forgotten just how sensitive they could be, even through a layer of wool. He couldn’t help but let out a groan. Only a little one, a very manly little one, but a groan none the less. It may even have been, to his inner caveman's horror, a moan.
“Nathan?” asked Audrey, bemused, “Are you alright?”
“Fine,” he gasped, pulling the files more firmly over his lap. “Never better. Let’s keep going, shall we?”
“Alright by me,” she agreed. “I’m getting hungry, though. Want to get something to eat?”
“There’s a new Chinese place just opened, the sign in the window said they deliver,” Nathan offered.
“Perfect,” said Audrey. “I had my phone around here somewhere. Feel around for it, would you?”
They both began shifting around on the couch, patting the cushions for the missing phone. Nathan’s hand skimmed down the length of Audrey’s exposed leg, silky-smooth and extremely soft. Just what the hell was she doing just wearing shorts and an over-sized t-shirt, anyway? He thought from the softness against his back that she wasn’t wearing a bra underneath it, which led his mind to wonder about what she was, or wasn’t, wearing under the shorts.
Oh great. At this rate he’d have to abandon the files and go for a nice, concealing lap-blanket instead.
“Got it!” she said cheerfully, pulling the phone out from under the sofa cushion. “What’s the number again?”
“It took over from the Pizza Palace, it should be using their old number,” he said absently, scanning the file in front of him.
“I know I’ve been here for a few months, but I haven’t yet managed to memorise the entire directory. And the Pizza Palace was shut when I got here.”
She thrust the phone at him and he dialled.
“I want duck with plum sauce,” she told him over his shoulder. “And udon noodles. And a dim sum platter.”
“Anything else?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Lots of rice,” she said.
“You got that?” he asked the woman on the end of the telephone. “And I’ll have the salt and pepper chicken wings and the scallops with black bean sauce. No, I’ll share her rice and noodles.”
Audrey tugged on his earlobe in mock-annoyance, and he almost laughed at feeling the slight pain she caused.
“It’ll be here in ten minutes,” he said. “And what’s with all the carbs? Are you in training for some marathon I don’t know about?”
“You never know when you’ll need extra energy,” she said loftily, and he backed down in the face of her logic. It wasn’t worth the argument, and it wasn’t as if she was wrong. Policing Haven often meant being yanked out of bed in the middle of the night to deal with strange occurrences.
They had to move to pay the delivery boy, and Nathan stood quietly to the side as she moved around her small kitchen hunting out plates and forks.
“I never managed chopsticks,” she admitted with a shrug as he pulled two sets from the bag of food. “The nuns weren’t big on take-out, and I never got around to learning how to hold them properly.”
“I’ll teach you,” Nathan said. “You’ll get the hang of it pretty soon.”
She looked at him sceptically. “I’m not really known for my grace,” she warned him.
“We’ll practice just holding them first,” he said. “Leave the food in the cartons, it’ll stay warm.”
He came around behind her and stepped close, bringing his arm around her body so he could manipulate her hand.
“The trick is to remember where to hold them,” he said, demonstrating. “Always hold them at the end away from the food. You’ll get a better grip on your food. Now, the upper chopstick is held with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb, just like this. See how easily it fits there? You try.”
It took her a few tries, but with a little adjustment from Nathan, Audrey soon had the first chopstick in place.
“The second one fits just under,” he told her, stooping a little so he could take the opportunity to speak directly into her ear. “Hold the bottom chopstick between the bottom of your thumb and the top of your ring finger.”
“Crap,” Audrey said, dropping it immediately.
“Try again,” he encouraged, taking her smaller hand in his and putting her fingers into the right position. He tried not to notice how easily her hand fit inside his.
The second chopstick was trickier than the first, but she eventually managed to get them both in her hand simultaneously.
“Now you get to try and eat with them,” Nathan said encouragingly. “Try and pick up one of the dumplings. Don’t spear it,” he cautioned, grabbing her wrist . “Keep the bottom chopstick still and use the top one to manoeuvre the food until you can get a good grip on it.”
“I cannot believe that a billion people eat with these every day,” she complained as the dumpling stayed stubbornly in the box, rolling a little as she tried to grab it. “Or that the Chinese didn’t invent the fork out of sheer frustration.”
“You’re getting there,” Nathan said encouragingly as he pulled some beers from the fridge.
“The food will be cold at this rate,” she said in the closest to a whine as he had ever heard from her. Nathan took pity on her, and put the opened beers down
“Open up,” he said, deftly manoeuvring the other pair of chopsticks and picking up the very dumpling that Audrey had been aiming for. He held the dumpling up, and she swiped her tongue over her lips before leaning closer to take a bite. She laughed as she succeeded, and leant forward again to finish off the dumpling. He quickly picked up another and she obligingly tugged at it with her teeth.
“These are delicious,” she said happily. “Have one.”
He shook his head. “Only if you can pick it up with your chopsticks,” he told her and smiled as a determined look came into her eyes.
“Right,” she said. “Okay. Here we go.”
She was concentrating so hard on managing the chopsticks that she didn’t notice the way that the neckline of her oversized t-shirt slipped forward. Nathan did, though. Definitely no bra. He took a discreet sidestep behind the kitchen counter.
“I did it!” she said triumphantly. “I did it! Nathan, get over here quick before I drop it!”
Before he could respond she had moved impatiently towards him, raising the chopsticks towards his mouth. He opened his mouth and took the whole thing from her, eschewing the delicate bites Audrey had taken for a more manly approach.
“There,” she said proudly. “I used chopsticks!”
“You did,” he agreed, around the food.
“But I want to use a fork for the rest of the meal,” she said. “There is no way in hell I can manage rice with them.”
“Baby steps,” agreed Nathan.
They heaped their plates with food and returned to the couch, moving the unhelpful files to the floor.
“I don’t think we’re going to find much in there,” Nathan said, pushing the files with his toes.
“I’m beginning to think it may well be teenagers,” Audrey agreed. “All the families affected have sons attending the local high school. Could be some sort of prank war.”
“We’ve only got a few left to do,” Nathan said, finding a particularly succulent scallop. “We should get them finished after eating.”
He looked up to find her eying his scallop speculatively.
“I’ll trade you for some of your duck,” he offered.
“Deal,” she replied, forking up a generous amount and passing it carefully onto his plate. “You’ve got to have the sauce. The sauce is amazing.”
Nathan was about to place the scallop on her plate when she surprised him by leaning forward and nibbling at it from his chopsticks.
“Hmm,” she said after half a bite. “I’m not sure. I’ve never had scallops before.”
“It’s a night of firsts for you,” he grinned. “Try the whole thing. You’ll love it, I promise.”
“If you say so,” she said, smiling back, and captured the rest of the food with her delicate mouth.
“It is good,” she said, sounding slightly surprised. Nathan quickly found another, and another, but this time deposited them whole into her mouth without waiting for her to nibble.
Her big blue eyes found his, and they stared at each other in silence for a while. Tension seemed to flicker up out of nowhere, and Nathan knew he should look away from her, but he just couldn’t.
“The next time we’re going to have to get a double order,” Audrey said prosaically, dampening the emerging sexual tension neatly. “There’s no way you get to keep them all to yourself.”
“This duck is amazing,” Nathan countered, finishing his and sneaking another piece from her plate when she bent sideways to pick her beer bottle from the floor. “We should get more of that, too.”
“But the chicken wings were too good to skip,” Audrey said, disturbed. “And I’ve only just mastered how to pick up dumplings with chopsticks. I can’t afford to lose that skill.”
“We’re just going to accept the fact that the people that run the restaurant will think we’re pigs,” Nathan said contentedly, polishing off his noodles. “Good choice with the udon, by the way.”
“I lived off them in college,” she admitted. “With spicy crab cakes.”
“You haven’t tasted crab until you’ve had Maine crab,” Nathan said loyally. “And I know a great little place that does the best crab cakes you’ll ever taste.”
“I don’t know,” teased Audrey. “Mrs Ling’s crab cakes were pretty good, and she always gave me a couple extra. You can’t beat that.”
“Next Saturday,” Nathan said without thinking. “We’ll go then, providing something strange doesn’t happen.”
Audrey looked pleased. “Alright. But I’m warning you, they’re going to have to be pretty damn good to beat Mrs Ling.”
They made their way through the mountain of food on their plates and settled back onto the couch, stuffed to the gills. They divided the remaining files between them, but it was as they had surmised. The only fact linking the occurrences was the fact that the families had children in the same high school.
“I’ll get uniform to talk to the principal tomorrow, see if she knows anything,” Nathan said, putting the last file down on the neat stack they had made. Silence fell between them, and he looked around, casting about for something to say. Luckily, Audrey was prepared.
“Come on,” she said, shuffling backwards. “Don’t think you can worm out of it that easily. The literature said between one and two hours close physical contact was needed, and we barely had forty five minutes. We’re going to have to shift position, though, it’s too dangerous to lean on my stomach now.”
Nathan did as he was told without complaint. Between the memory of the warmth of her body, the smell of her perfume and the stomach full of food, he was feeling as lazy as a housecat in a sunbeam. After some discussion and a brief argument about who was going to be the big spoon, they ended up laying side by side on the couch, Audrey’s back to his front. It was a dangerous position to be in, he knew, but his inner caveman refused to be the little spoon. He was an enlightened guy, had no problems working with or for women and was always respectful, something his father had been adamant about when he was growing up. But there was no way in hell or Haven that he would ever consent to being the little spoon.
“Suit yourself,” Audrey said, shrugging her shoulders. “But I’ll fight to the death for control of the remote.”
He figured it was a good trade-off.
She flicked on the tv and decided on a documentary channel, something he could live with. The only thing on the other channels were programmes about sexy doctors or sexy police officers, running around saving lives and being sexy while getting lab results back in unfeasibly quick time from sexy lab assistants. It appeared he and Audrey had the same opinion of television cops.
“Ooh, mummies,” Audrey said happily as a programme about ancient Egypt came on. “This work for you?”
“Better mummies than sexy lab assistants,” he said sleepily.
“Don’t fall asleep,” she chided, nudging him in the stomach. “And put your arms around me. The literature said...”
“Alright,” he sighed, as if he was doing her a massive favour. “Stop talking about the literature.”
She had come into the office on Monday morning, waving a sheaf of technical-looking documents and nagging at him about the state of his mental health. Ever since he had admitted to her that he could feel her touch, he had been worried about how she would take it. He had taken her aside on Friday afternoon, and eventually managed to form the words that admitted his secret. She had been shocked and curious, and seemed to retreat into herself when she found out. He had called her a couple of times over the weekend, but all his calls went to voicemail. He had been half-expecting her to file a transfer request back to Boston on Monday, but instead he was presented with half a rainforest of medical journal photocopies and internet search print-outs regarding the dangers of lack of physical contact on humans. It had taken her all week to get him to agree to what the literature called “a prolonged exposure to gentle physical contact.”
Truth be told, as soon as she presented her plan to cuddle him away from mental illness, he had been all for it. Come on. He wasn’t blind. She was gorgeous, and he’d thought so since day one. It was just that his inner caveman enjoyed the sight of Audrey getting all hot and bothered all week as she ordered him to spend Friday night touching her.
Audrey brought out his inner caveman quite a lot, now he came to think about it.
He steered her backwards a little, so her head was pillowed on his shoulder and upper arm. He slid a bent knee in-between hers and draped his free arm over her waist.
“Comfy?” he asked, moving his mouth close to her ear. He could have sworn that he felt her shiver, just a little, as his breath hit her throat.
She murmured something that sounded like yes, and he closed his eyes, listening to the sound of an excited Egyptologist talk about the Sphinx. He must have drifted off, because when he opened his eyes the room was dark, the television was now showing a programme about the Civil War and Audrey had turned around in her sleep and was draped happily over his chest. He had pulled her to him, and his hands were splayed over her back and her backside. The inner caveman hit him over the head with his club, and Nathan obediently squeezed the firm muscle he found under his hand. Audrey made a happy sound in her sleep, so he did it again. She wriggled against him and his body reacted happily to the weight and pressure of her. Very happily. Emboldened, he slid his hand gently under her t-shirt and stroked the patch of skin he found at the base of her spine with the tips of his fingers.
“Mmm, tha’s nice,” she said sleepily, one hand disappearing up into his hair. “Oh, Duke...”
Nathan suddenly woke up properly.
“Duke?” he said, outraged, struggling to sit up. Audrey giggled wickedly, pulled herself up and straddled his legs.
“My god, Nathan Wuornos, you are the most difficult man to seduce,” she said, grinning at him. “Or maybe I should say, the hardest?” She let a hand drift down to the front of his jeans, which were clearly showing his arousal. She squeezed firmly and he let out a very unmanly yelp. His inner caveman retreated into his cave in disgust.
“You mean, you planned all this?” he said in disbelief. “What about the literature?”
Audrey laughed. “Did you actually read any of it?” she asked.
Dumbfounded, he shook his head. Her hand remained firmly on his jeans, so he reached out and started to stoke the smooth skin of her leg. Her smile widened at his entrance into the game.
“It’s all real,” she assured him “Even the stuff from Julia and Eleanor. But it’s not really aimed at adults. It’s all about abandoned babies, and how they need constant contact.”
“It was about you,” he said slowly, pulling in his legs and forcing her to climb further up his body. “You’re the one that needs the touching.”
“I need a lot of touching,” she agreed solemnly, pulling off her t-shirt. Her breasts were magnificent; creamy skin with pale pink nipples standing to attention under his admiring gaze. He lifted a hand but hesitated a few centimetres from her skin, giving her time to change her mind.
Sighing, Audrey hooked a hand behind his neck and pulled him in for a very thorough kiss.
“I’m straddling you, half naked, on my couch, after spending all week begging you to let me touch you. I’m a sure thing, Nathan.”
Still somewhat dazed by the kiss, he let his hand ghost gently over the curve of her breasts. Encouraged by the moan of pleasure that evinced, he cupped them with both hands and used his thumbs to play with her puckered nipples. She squeezed him harder, and he continued his exploration with his lips. Audrey moaned gratifyingly loudly when he sucked a nipple directly into his mouth, and let out a shrill gasp when he gently scraped it his teeth.
He could do this for hours, he thought blissfully, dimly aware of a growing damp spot on the leg of his jeans where Audrey ground against his leg. He shifted her about slightly, his mouth still firmly attached to her breast, so he could run his hands down the curves of her hips to find the waistband of her shorts. He tugged them down, revealing that she had decided not to bother with underwear at all that evening. He admired the curve of her hips and the flare of her backside with his hands, before slipping one hand downwards and playing with the damp curls.
“So wet for me?” he marvelled. “I’m honoured, Audrey.”
She snorted with laughter. “Do something,” she said through tight teeth. “Don’t make me beg you, Nathan, God,”
He parted her folds with his fingers and searched out the swollen centre of her pleasure with his thumb. It had been a long time, so his hand was shaking slightly, but it was dark, and Audrey didn’t seem to notice. He rubbed gently at first, matching the rhythm she set with her hips, pressing more firmly when she ordered him to with short gasps of breath. She let out the most perfect moan he had ever heard when he let one of his fingers slide up into her slick channel, and she did it again when another finger joined it. The combination of his mouth and his hands, one cupping her backside as she rode the other, eventually tipped her over the edge and she tightened convulsively around his fingers.
She slumped forward, her body covered in a slight sheen. It took her a little while to catch her breath, and Nathan smiled smugly at the sight of the gorgeous woman lying sated on his chest. His inner caveman was doing a victory dance now. However, now that he was no longer distracted by the sight and smell of her pleasure, his own body started to protest the tightness of his jeans. He shifted a hand from Audrey’s back and popped the button on his waistband, but as he started to pull the zipper down, Audrey’s hand whipped put and grabbed his wrist.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded. “That’s mine. Hands off.”
She waited until Nathan folded both his hands behind his head, an amused look on his face. He obligingly lifted his hips as she tugged down his underwear and jeans in one stroke, leaving them pooled about his knees. She ran her hands over his length a few times until she made him give what she later assured him was a very manly whimper. She collected the few drops of moisture that escaped from him and kept eye contact as she leisurely licked it from a finger tip.
“Audrey, if you don’t do something I swear I’m going to...” he managed, before she rose in one swift movement and slid down over him. They both let out a groan this time; he wasn’t exactly porn-star proportions, but he was definitely in proportion to the rest of his body, and Audrey seemed to like it. She slid up and down slowly at first, getting used to the sensation. It had clearly been a while for her too, although he was sure that his slow streak was a lot longer than hers.
She began to pick up speed, and the feeling of her slick tightness squeezing him, combined with the sight of her full breasts bouncing and the sound of her moaning in pleasure was just about enough to make him go over the edge. He managed to delay his own orgasm long enough to work two fingers over her clitoris, pushing her over the edge into hers. As soon as she shuddered and tightened around him, he was lost. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close to him as he felt himself release into her.
Such was the strength of their mutual pleasure that it took him a few minutes of contented afterglow to realise with horror that neither of them had brought up the issue of birth control.
“Relax,” she said sleepily. “I’m on the pill. And I’m pretty sure that STDs hadn’t been invented the last time you had sex.”
He gave her a smack on the backside for that, and she laughed.
“I’ve never had sex without a condom before,” she told him, the sleep taking over her voice. “So you’re safe.”
“Me too,” he said. “You, too.”
“I must be tired because I understood that,” she muttered into his chest, yawning.
Nathan made an executive decision, and kicked off his jeans.
“Come on, I’m not sleeping on your couch all night,” he said, finding the remote and clicking off the television that neither had noticed was still on. He sat up, pulled Audrey into the right position and stood.
“You are stronger than you look,” she told him, as he carefully avoided her living room furniture.
“Must be all those carbs,” he said with a straight face. “Never know when you’ll need the extra energy.”
If Audrey had been holding a pillow she would have swatted him with it, but she wasn’t, so she kissed him instead.
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